IndiGo eyes greater profitability across international segment in FY25

IndiGo, India’s largest carrier, expects sustained international growth in FY25, said a top offical.

In FY24, its international Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) share rose from 23 per cent to 27 per cent.

The airline’s expansion is driven by factors like India’s growing middle class, rising passport holders, and eased visa restrictions, said Vinay Malhotra, Head of Global Sales, IndiGo. The low-cost carrier aims to bolster connectivity to secondary markets from its primary international hubs.

“With increasing income, passport holders and visa-free destinations for Indian travelers, the international market looks promising,” Malhotra told businessline.

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International goals

“This allows Indians to book at the last minute as well. Not only that, increasing aircraft availability further fuels this momentum, this all augurs well for any carrier which is having aspirations to take people internationally, especially IndiGo,” he added.

IndiGo isn’t just adding new destinations; it’s strategically crafting a network that caters to the evolving travel needs of Indian flyers.

According to Malhotra, recent additions like Almaty, Tiblisi, Baku, Tashkent, and Jakarta offer exciting new experiences beyond the well-trodden tourist paths.

“Our own operations and in the last one year itself, we’ve introduced a handful of very exciting destinations,” said Malhotra.

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“These are some of the newer markets which have not been so very frequented by an average Indian traveler. These destinations cater to the growing appetite for adventure travel and cultural exploration,” he added.

IndiGo started its international operations in 2011. As of March 2024, the airline operates 33 international destinations and hs 97 direct city pairs. Along with this, the airline has eight strategic partnerships with carriers.

Popular routes

The airline also recognizes the importance of frequency on popular routes. High passenger demand on routes like Singapore, Thailand, and the UAE is met with increased flight frequencies, ensuring greater convenience and flexibility for travelers, and is exploring adding more capacity on these routes, the Head of Global sales told businessline.

In the multi-pronged strategy that the low-Cost Carrier has charted out, it isn’t just focusing on major metros. It sees immense potential in Tier-2 cities as gateways to international travel. Successful routes like Surat to Dubai and Hyderabad to Bangkok demonstrate the strong demand for international travel from these emerging economic hubs.

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“We see significant potential in Tier-2 markets for international travel, as these cities are emerging as gateways to global destinations,” Malhotra said adding that, it is: “Presently, we operate international flights from 18 cities, including non-metros like Surat, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Bhubaneshwar. IndiGo is actively evaluating opportunities in these regions, constantly assessing potential routes and frequencies to meet this growing demand.”

In order to expand its international segment, the airline is also charting out a plan to extend beyond its current capabilities.

Currently, the airline operates on short-haul and mid-haul destinations on its own fleet and has codeshares with international airlines to fly its passengers beyond.

The airline has an order of A321 XLR aircraft. Malhotra said that these aircraft are expected to be in its fleet by mid-2025, he said.

XLR aircraft

“With the introduction of our XLR aircraft around mid-2025, our reach will extend from 5-6 hours to 8-9 hours, potentially allowing us to explore opportunities in Western Europe,” says Malhotra.

IndiGo’s international strategy is multifaceted. Firstly, the airline aims to connect India to more global destinations, evident in its diverse network. In a recent presentation, the airline has said it is dirversifying its network.

Secondly, it is enhancing connectivity within existing destinations, exemplified by adding Bali alongside Jakarta and Colombo. This two-pronged approach ensures a comprehensive and well-connected network for travelers, according to him.

“We aim to expand our destination network, connecting India to more global destinations and vice versa. Increasing frequencies where possible, such as Dubai and Bangkok,” he explained.

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